Ursula K Le Guin accepts a Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters (transcript):

We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality. … We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art—the art of words.

Liam Hogan writes persuasively on the popularity of light rail:

Trams are a physical symbol of specific kinds of local and state/territory government policy: long-term, because of rail’s inflexibility; developmentalist, because the economics demands it; environmentalist, because they run on electricity; and pump-priming in a Keynesian way that, unlike the shiny vehicles themselves, has for 30 years been distinctly unfashionable. We argue about light rail against buses, against cars, and against an infinite number of other modes.

All the engineering and economic assessment will not change the fundamental argument, though: it’s about imagination, and permanence, and commitment by the state to urban areas.

The same goes for big road projects, like the East-West Link, which is clearly not about the economics or the Government wouldn’t be hiding the independent analysis it commissioned. Just like trams, it’s about a specific vision for the future of Melbourne’s urban environment.

…by definition this case is “out of the ordinary”. Indeed it is at the extreme limits of what is “out of the ordinary”.

This is an incredible case: a lawyer pretended to work for his client for three years, fabricating letters and file notes and court orders, pretending to brief a QC, and even faking transcript of a court hearing. Three years! Read the judgment from [12] to [105] to see just how intricate his imaginary litigation was.

Chris Maisano remembers the days of full employment:

In one telling anecdote from the period, an assembly-line worker at GM who skipped work nearly every Monday is confronted by his foreman. When asked why he only worked four days a week, the worker replied: “Because I can’t make a living working three days.” Who would have the audacity to say that today?

These days we can’t even knock off when we’re supposed to: “The average full-time worker is doing six hours of unpaid overtime each week”. Happy Go Home on Time Day.

Last week the Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs declared that pre-1788 Australia was “nothing but bush”, and the European arrivals “must have thought they’d come almost to the Moon”. Unfortunately it seems history education at VCE level is taking a similar approach, as Elizabeth Muldoon and Gary Foley point out:

Koorie [H]istory will be cut due to declining enrolments. This leaves the one-year Australian history course as the only way for Victorian students to study Australian indigenous history in their final two years of secondary school. …

Other aspects of the [Australian History] study design that erase indigenous perspectives from Australian history include its timeframe. Although there is no shortage of historical scholarship and indigenous knowledge of pre-1788 Australia, it presents Australian history as beginning with British invasion.

Also concerning is its use of the euphemism “settlement” to stand for “colonisation” or “invasion”.

Muldoon and Foley have previously criticised the K-10 Australian Curriculum for its poor treatment of Indigenous histories.

I’m enjoying Space Age on the iPad. Elevator pitch: an old-fashioned adventure game; Zelda meets The Dig.

Inspired by Virginia’s new blog, Articulint, I’ve decided to start blogging again. Let’s see how long it lasts.